• Heather

Amenities at the Beaches on Lido Key

Updated: Sep 11, 2020


Lido Key is a barrier island located in southwest Florida on the Gulf of Mexico. The small island is connected to the city of Sarasota by the John Ringling Causeway. In the 1920’s, John Ringling owned large tracts of land on the key and Mr. Ringling was indirectly responsible for the naming of the key. He referred to the key’s beach as ‘lido’ which means shore in Italian and eventually Lido became the permanent name of the key. The beautiful, white sand coast of Lido Key bordering the Gulf of Mexico is less than 3 miles and is divided into 3 beaches known as North Lido Beach, Lido Beach, and Ted Sperling Park at South Lido Beach. Each beach has its own unique features and amenities which I enumerate below. Click here for my post describing why Lido Beach is my favorite beach. To check the daily beach conditions and help plan your visit go to Visit Beaches website, which is run by the Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium. You can sign up for daily emails that provide the beach conditions such as water and air temperature, surf height, and wind speeds (see example of the report below).

Lido Beach

400 Ben Franklin Drive, Sarasota, FL 34236

The main beach on Lido Key is Lido Beach consisting of 15 acres of land along the Gulf of Mexico. Lido Beach offers free parking with a large paved parking lot with 400 spaces, a pavilion with concessions and restrooms, a pool, and lifeguards. There is free parking along the street (Ben Franklin Drive) with 5 beach access points over a distance of one-third mile from the end of St Armands Circle (at the Lido Beach Multiuse Recreation Trail sign) to the parking lot. Each access point has an outdoor shower. The concession stand is currently closed and supposedly under reconstruction. In the interim, there is at least one food truck serving food daily. The women’s restroom has 6 toilets, 2 sinks, and a small space for changing. However the changing area is not private. The Beach Pavilion has a covered, shaded area with a few picnic tables, an outdoor shower, and a beachside viewing platform, which is accessible by persons with disabilities. At the beach access point next to the viewing platform, there is a rental business for beach lounge chairs and umbrellas.

There are 3 lifeguard towers covering 0.3 miles of beach. The northernmost guard tower (to your right when facing the beach) is 0.25 miles from the Lido Beach Pavilion, the middle stand is just a tenth of a mile north of the Pavilion, and the southernmost stand (to your left when facing the beach) is less than a tenth of a mile from the Pavilion. There is a public pool with 2-3 lanes for lap swimming, tables, chairs, and a few umbrellas. To use the pool, there is a fee charged based on age. Currently, the adult admission for the day is $4. You can purchase a day pass from the food truck. There is an option to buy a 3-month and annual passes. The pool is open 10:00 am to 4:45 pm Tuesday – Sunday (closed Mondays, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day). For more information, call 941-329-6181.

Lido Beach Amenities:

  • public beach access

  • sandy beach

  • concession/restaurant (closed but there is at least 1 food truck daily)

  • restrooms

  • changing area

  • lifeguards (on duty from 10:00 am to 4:45 pm)

  • pool (fee)

  • rinse stations/outdoor showers

  • persons with disabilities accessible observation deck

  • large paved parking lot

  • free parking

  • shaded picnic area

  • beach chair and umbrella rentals

  • alcohol is permitted

  • walking distance (0.6 miles) to St Armands Circle

  • no glass

  • no dogs

" The main beach on Lido Key is Lido Beach consisting of 15 acres of land along the Gulf of Mexico. Lido Beach offers free parking with a large paved parking lot with 400 spaces, a pavilion with concessions and restrooms, a pool, and lifeguards."

North Lido Beach

159 Emerson Drive, Sarasota, FL 34236

This beach has several access points in the small neighborhood off of Polk Street. However, there is no public parking available throughout the neighborhood. Paid parking can be found at the end of John Ringling Blvd where there is a paved lot with 15 spaces (1 handicap space). You can also park at the end of St Armands Circle which is also metered parking. There is free parking along Ben Franklin Drive. An outdoor shower is available at the small parking lot at the end of John Ringling Blvd. Besides the rinse station, there are no amenities at this beach.

You can use cash or credit card for the metered parking. You’ll need your license plate number. However, for the easiest and most convenient way to pay for parking, download the free mobile app by Park Mobile. It requires a strong internet connection and a few minutes to input your information so I recommend downloading the app ahead of time. The app warns you a few minutes before your time expires. I think that feature is very useful when parking in St Armands Circle because I can easily add more time to the meter through the app if shopping or dinner is taking longer than expected. Parking in the metered spaces is free on Saturday and Sunday. Park Mobile is also used for parking in downtown Sarasota.

North Lido Beach Amenities:

  • public beach access

  • sandy beach

  • very private and quiet beach

  • very close proximity to St. Armands Circle (about 0.25 miles)

  • paid parking (15 spaces) at end of John Ringling Blvd

  • alcohol is permitted

  • no parking on Emerson Drive

  • no restrooms (amenities available about ½ mile south on Ben Franklin Drive at Lido Beach Pavilion)

  • no glass

  • no dogs

  • no lifeguards

Ted Sperling Park at South Lido Park

2198 Ben Franklin Drive

South Lido Beach is located on the southern tip of Lido Key. The beach is bordered by 4 bodies of water: the Gulf of Mexico, Big Sarasota Pass, Sarasota Bay, and Brushy Bayou. The park covers 100 acres and includes a woodland nature trail which leads to a hidden beach amongst the mangrove islands. There are restrooms and an outdoor shower. The rinse station is located at the restroom facility. A bike rack is also located at the restroom building. There is a picnic area shaded by Australian Pines with tables and charcoal grills. The picnic area faces Sarasota Bay and the water is very calm. Boaters often anchor off-shore and people with personal watercraft beach their vehicles on the shore. Free parking is available in the packed dirt lot. Children can play on the beach or at the playground. I often see people fishing. There are no lifeguards on duty.


South Lido Beach Amenities:

  • public beach access

  • sandy beach

  • free parking on gravel lot

  • restrooms

  • outdoor showers

  • shaded picnic area

  • charcoal grills

  • playground

  • woodland trail to hidden beach

  • access to bay and calm waters

  • alcohol is permitted

  • no glass

  • no lifeguards

  • no dogs